Los Angeles Rams’ QB Jared Goff has had a very impressive start to his 2017 season. In limited work, and in a new offense under Sean McVay, he’s looked like an entirely different player. But it’s evident, despite the strong showing in August, that there’s still doubt he can about-face from the abysmal start to his NFL career.
Over at ESPN, Mike Sando has posted his fourth annual QB tier rankings (In$ider). This year, he’s got 50 contributors voting on 36 NFL quarterbacks (excluding rookies): Nine general managers, six pro personnel directors, five other executives, five head coaches, seven offensive coordinators, six defensive coordinators, five defensive assistants, three analytics directors, two quarterbacks coaches and two national scouts.
In case you’ve missed Sando’s tier rankings in the past, here’s how it works.
The 50 league insiders vote on 36 players by placing them in tiers from 1 (best) to 5 (worst). The average of those rankings determined where each player landed.
Here’s the final take on Goff, as well as a few notes on where other notable players landed.
32. Jared Goff - Avg. 2017 Rating (4.06)
Goff went 0-7 as a rookie starter last season under circumstances one offensive coordinator likened to a "perfect storm" of badness, from a weak supporting cast to organizational turmoil to a flawed scheme to appearing on "Hard Knocks" in a new city that happened to be one of the world's entertainment capitals. One personnel director did say he saw Goff make a couple impressive throws per game, a reminder that there was physical talent with which to work.
"We did a lot of work on him when he and [Carson] Wentz came out, and I thought he had a chance," a different offensive coordinator said. "I just knew that it was going to take a while. It was a little bit unfair throwing him in there like they did, especially when everything was in turmoil with that organization last year. I think he has a chance, yeah. He maybe can get to a 2. Maybe he can move toward a 3 this year with the idea of becoming a 2 one day.
"The biggest question in voters' minds seemed to center around what one voter called a meek personality. Voters didn't like the look in Goff's eyes or the demeanor he projected as a rookie. They thought guys like Trubisky, Watson, Mahomes and especially Wentz had the grit needed to weather tough times.
"Man, he did not look the part when he played last year," a former GM said of Goff. "I don't know if it is coming from the spread [in college] and all that, but the anticipation, the instincts, they just weren't there. Maybe the situation was just really bad, and with this new coach, it will get better.
It sounds as though some of the anonymous voters want to believe that Goff has what it takes to climb the ladder in the rankings...but it’s evident that they’re going to need to see it to believe it.
Goff’s rating, and the commentary provided by the anonymous voters, aren’t necessarily unfair. 2016 was bad. But it’s clear that the onus to quiet the doubters is now on him. With improved play from the offensive line, and a few reliable pass catchers - something he’s already receiving this preseason - Goff could make strides in 2017 and find himself, as the offensive coordinator quoted above stated, moving towards “a 3 this year with the idea of becoming a 2 one day.”
A few notes regarding the other NFL QB’s:
- Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were the only unanimous Tier 1 players (1.00).
- Rounding out Tier 1 were Ben Roethlisberger (1.40), Drew Brees (1.42), and Matt Ryan (1.48).
- Fellow rookies from the 2016 draft class, Dak Prescott finished 14th, Carson Wentz 21st, and Paxton Lynch finished T-29.
- Former Rams’ QB Sam Bradford dropped in at No. 23.
- Colin Kaepernick, a free agent at this point, ranked 28th.
- Blake Bortles, who’s having an abysmal preseason and in danger of losing the starting job in Jacksonville, tied Paxton Lynch at 29.
- One spot ahead of Goff at 31, Brian Hoyer finished with a (4.00) average. One spot behind him, Tom Savage (4.08).
- The lowest ranked QB of the 36 voted on was Cody Kessler (4.42)